Melbourne International Comedy Festival Previously Reviewed Shows

It’s nearly time for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival!!!

Our tails are waggling excitedly as we plan our festival and the shows we will be seeing and reviewing for you. It’s a big 30th Anniversary and we’ll be enjoying a lot of the wonderful birthday events and exhibitions too.

As always to help you make decisions about which shows you should see at the festival we have a list for you of all the shows we have already reviewed so you can check them out.

Don’t forget to take a punt on someone you’ve never heard of, they might change your world and you, for making up an awesome audience, theirs.

Down the bottom of this article, I’ve listed some shows that have been cancelled.

Meanwhile here are some reviews we prepared earlier:

Christopher Welldon Christopher Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

Dave Callan A Little Less Conversation 3: Even More Less Conversation

Dilruk Jayasinha – Sri Wanka

Geraldine Hickey Winner!

I love Green Guide Letters with Steele Saunders

Lauren Bok Is That A Burrito In Your Pocket Or Are You Just Happy You Have a Burrito

Lauren Bok, Sam Marzden & Bert Goldsmith Radio Variety Hour

Lisa-Skye & Nick Caddaye Gentlemen’s Agreement

Little Dum Dum Club: Live!

Rama Nicholas in Mary Weather’s Monsters

Set List

Soothplayers Completely Improvised Shakespeare


Cancelled Shows

The following is the list so far. We will pop any more of these up on the ‘In Brief’ section of our site as they come in:

ACE Comedy vs Politics Gala Dinner

Funny Folks Have a Crack!

Squeaky Clean Comedy

5 PM Variety Show



Squirrels Top 5 Picks of the Festival

Well the 2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival is winding down this weekend.

We no longer hand out awards, because it is just too difficult for us to see everything, or even see the same shows as each other. Instead most of the Squirrels have picked their Top 5 shows. If they are still running we recommend that you might like to see some of them this weekend. It was really hard to narrow it down to only five.

Of course the festival isn’t over yet and we may see something that changes our list but we wanted to put this up before the festival was over so you could gain from our recommendations.

You’ll notice a few of the names crop up more than once. Some sold out shows are putting on extra performances in the final weekend like the play Choir Girl that had finished its run of three performances, but has added one on Sunday afternoon.

Check out the Melbourne International Comedy Festival website for details and keep festivalling ’til you drop!!

Lisa Clark 

Hannah Gadsby – Happiness is a Bedside Table

Dave Bloustien – The Grand Gignol

The Writers

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Sammy J – Potentially


Caitlin Crowley

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Hannah Gadsby – Happiness is a Bedside Table

Michael Workman – Ave Loretta

Best Comics Worst Gigs

Dave O’Neil – 33 Things I Should Have Said No To



Cathy Culliver 

Dayne Rathbone – It’s Me Dayne

Luke McGregor – My Soulmate is Out of My League

Simon Keck – Nob Happy Sock

Dr Professor Neal Portenza

Ryan Coffey – Late & Loud


Colin Flaherty 

Fabian Lapham & The Actual Musicans:God Fights the Dinosaurs & 9 Other Stories That Will Awesome You in the Face.

Simon Keck – Nob Happy Sock

Set List

Choir Girl – Sarah Collins

David Quirk – Shaking Hands with danger


Elyce Phillips 

Lessons with Luis – Famoucity!

Lords of Luxury

Sam Simmons – Shitty Trivia

Lawrence Leung’s Part-time Detective Agency

Mike Birbiglia – My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend


Luke Simmons 

Khaled Khalafalla – Devious

Brendon Walsh

Bev Killick – Goes “There”…Again

Daniel Connell – Mr Personality 1988

Trevor Noah – The Racist


2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival finishes on Sunday 21st of April

Set List : Stand-Up Without A Net

By Lisa Clark

In a short time (only a couple of years) Set List is becoming an exciting must see for comedy fans and a must do for Stand up artists. Created by Americans Troy Conrad and host Paul Provenza (famous for the Aristocrats film and TV show The Green Room with Paul Provenza), it’s a sort of Theatresports for stand up performers and has become a fixture at both the Edinburgh Fringe and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Last year it was on very late at night, this year it’s been brought forward a little, so it doesn’t clash with Festival Club and it’s easier to get to for those who’d prefer an early night.

A set list is more commonly known as a list of songs performed by a band, for a comedian it’s a list of words or phrases referring to practiced comedy routines that they plan to do for their set, something never usually seen by an audience (unless you glimpse the backs of their hands). At Set List the list is generated for them by the Set List Team and a random phrase pops up on a big screen where the comedians see it for the first time and has to make up a routine around it on the spot.

Like Theatresports or the circus watching it can be as thrilling and terrifying for the audience as it is for the performer. Audiences are encouraged to take part by adding ideas on small slips of paper to the suggestion box which the comedian can reach for during their routine if stuck for an idea. Paul also encourages the audience to join in by not being a Dick. In other words, we’re there to support the comedians and enjoy the fun, rather than heckle and jeer and make it more difficult for them. It encourages a great vibe and a good time can be had by all.

It’s pretty unfair almost pointless to review the performers themselves as there are going to be vast differences depending on the comedian’s experience at improvisation, experience at Set List and the topics they are given. For example a comedian had to cope with a word they clearly didn’t know the meaning of. Generally though, all the performers coped really well and the laughs were pretty much non-stop even if they were occasionally for the wrong reason. Some started strongly on an adrenaline high then gradually lost momentum, possibly from thinking too hard and others started slowly and warmed into it. The latter included Set List virgin Matt Okine who enjoyed explaining why Ski-ing = Racism and veritable veteran Wil Anderson who was gifted the topic Gay Time of the month and could barely be restrained from cracking out line after line about homosexuality and ice-creams.

To give you a taste of the ride we enjoyed that night, we were treated to Felicity Ward with her Heroin vs Crack Insights, Simon Munnery who effortlessly explained the ‘3 Types of Serial Killers I support’, a nervous Celia Pacquola tackled ‘Genocide Sensitivity’ in a surprising and clever way, and Ronny Chieng, as cool and smooth as ever, tried to get ‘8 people to join Scientology.’

This is a fantastic experience for comedy nerds as well as a broadly entertaining show for casual punters to take a group of friends to. There’s bound to be a laugh in this for anyone out to have a good time, only remember don’t be dicks!

Set List is on at The Victoria Hotel

Set List: Stand-up Without A Net. The TV Series.

By Jayden Edwards

“Set List- Stand up Without a Net” the international hit show that has comedians shitting themselves the world over, is coming to our TV screens.

Set List invites willing comedians to jump up on stage and tackle a never before seen list of topics and spin out a fully improvised routine in front of a live audience.

The original concept is the brainchild of US comedians and film makers Troy Conrad and Paul Provenza. After experimenting with the show in comedy rooms in and around Los Angeles, Set List has set up shop around the world in front of sell out crowds, including London, Edinburgh and at our own Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The show has attracted some of comedies biggest names and delighted audiences, giving them the clearest possible view of a comedians inner-most workings. All this hype eventually attracted the attention of UK Television network Sky Atlantic, who commissioned the 14 part series, showing here on ABC2.

The TV series was filmed in the US and the UK last year and sees the likes of Robin Williams, Ross Noble, Drew Carey, Tim Minchin, Rove McManus and more, take on the Set List challenge.

Episode one, premiering 9.00pm Thursday January 24 on ABC2, sees Robin Williams, Matt Kirshen and Eddie Pepitone step up to the mic. All very different comedians, it’s great to see how they approach the task in their own style. Robin, as you’d expect, pulls out some wacky voices and whimsical tales to get him through, while Eddie employs a lot of swearing and yelling to keep the laughs coming while he’s thinking. Yeah, some of the jokes miss, but the fun in Set List is seeing the comedians find the hits, it’s like a spectator sport, everyone loves a car crash as much as a triumph!

The TV format adds another layer to the successful live show by mixing the comedians performances with behind the scenes footage and pre and post show interviews, so you really get to see the acts sweat and panic before jumping up on stage, and their reaction straight after their set. The camera gets right in the comedians faces during their set, showing their gears turning and brows sweating. These are all great techniques that puts the viewer on the other side of the fence, it feels like it’s you and the comedian vs the audience, a whole different experience to being an audience member at the live show.

Set Lists transition to television was always at risk of losing it’s edge and underground live room feel, but the doco style filming, basic set and lack of host ensure none of that is lost, no glitz, just raw stand up inprov.

The show is produced for the UK, so there’s a few names that may not be so familiar with Aussie audiences, but plenty that will. Hopefully they’ll film some in Melbourne in the future!

Set List the TV show is a highly entertaining, nerve-wracking journey into the unknown, make sure you check it out.

Starts 9.00pm Thursday January 24 on ABC2